Watch ARTINFO video on The Frick show HERE, or below.
It has been nearly three decades since Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” ca. 1665, graced New York with her presence. And in her time away, her reputation has grown exponentially, from an exhibition wallflower to a blockbuster superstar, attracting a following on par with the likes of King Tut and the Mona Lisa. She drew more than 10,000 visitors a day during her visit last year to Japan, where she was the highlight of the world’s best-attended exhibition of 2012. While her surge in popularity is due in part to an eponymous novel by Tracy Chevalier and the subsequent film in which she was brought to life by Scarlett Johansson, it may have far more to do with her stunning visage and a pensive glance evincing a thought interrupted — details that made her a breakout star of the Met’s 1984 “Dutch Painting of the Golden Age from the Royal Picture Gallery, Mauritshuis.”
It should come as no surprise, then, that unprecedented around-the-block lines have been forming at the Frick Collection since “Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis” opened on October 22, with crowds clamoring to get a glimpse of the blue-turbaned maiden. (The museum, while acknowledging that the crowds are “very unusual for weekdays,” was also at pains to say that the line has been “flow[ing] very smoothly.”)
“The Girl” takes center stage among 15 works on loan from the Mauritshuis in The Hague, which is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation and is slated to reopen mid 2014. “We chose the Frick because it is so similar in ambiance to our Mauritshuis, which is housed in a 17th-century palace,” says director Emilie Gordenker. Other highlights of the show include Carel Fabritius’s 1654 oil on panel “The Goldfinch” and a quartet of Rembrandt paintings that span the artist’s career.
Complementing these masterworks is “Transforming of Still Life Painting,” 2012, a mind-bending video work by British artists Rob and Nick Carter. Inspired by the work of Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573–1621), the digital nature morte changes very, very gradually over a 3-hour period, with flowers in a vase withering, insects feasting on their tender foliage, and snails crawling about, as the lush 17th-century landscape in the background shifts from night to day and back again.
Watch ARTINFO video on the “Girl with a Pearl Earring” show at The Frick:
"Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting" is on view at the Frick through January 19.